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Australian Dairy Industry In Focus



The Dairy Industry In Focus report provides a snapshot of Australia’s role in the global dairy industry based on the current year's data. 

The dairy industry is the nation's fourth largest rural industry and a key sector of the agricultural economy. Dairy Australia plays a key industry role in being able to quantify the flow of milk across the nation, which is processed into a wider range of dairy products and then sold in diverse markets here and overseas. 

  • Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2021

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Milk production

The 2020/21 season will be remembered by many as one of the best in recent memory. After several challenging years, favourable weather delivered a turnaround in operating conditions on farm. Above average rain and warm temperatures during spring and summer resulted in a close to record large winter crop harvest and plentiful pasture growth. This significantly improved feed availability and lowered input costs for most farmers across the country. 

Combined with a historically strong farmgate milk price, a vast majority of farmers reported making an operating profit during 2020/21. Favourable conditions for most of the year encouraged many farmers to retain stock and begin to focus on rebuilding the herd. As a result, Australia’s national milk pool increased for the first time in three years, ending the season up 0.7%, at 8,858 million litres.

Australian dairy farmers

In 2020/21 there were 4,618 registered dairy farms operating in Australia. The dairy industry is a significant source of employment across regional areas and is one of Australia’s leading rural industries in terms of adding value through further downstream processing. It is estimated approximately 37,400 people were directly employed on dairy farms and by dairy processing companies in 2020/21.

Associated transport, distribution, farm services and research and development activities represent further employment connected to the industry. Much of this occurs close to farming areas, thereby generating significant economic activity and employment in regional Australia.

 

Export markets

 Australia accounts for less than 2% of the world’s estimated milk production but remains a significant exporter of dairy products. The country currently ranks fourth in terms of world dairy trade – with a 4% share, behind New Zealand, the European Union and United Kingdom (as a bloc) and the United States. 

In 2020/21, 32% of milk produced in Australia was exported, worth a total of A$3.3 billion.
More than 88% of Australian exports were destined for Asia in 2020/21, with Greater China remaining one of Australia's fastest growing export markets by volume. Measured by dollar value, the top five export markets were Greater China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Japan remains a vital trade partner for Australian exporters, as a mature, high-value market with long-established business relationships.

Previous reports

Refer below for our most recent In Focus reports. Visit the Resources page for all previous In Focus reports.

Published:
Industry data
Manufacturing and Trade
Export
The Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2020 report cover
Report iconReport

Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2019

An overview of the performance of the Australian dairy industry in 2019.
Published:
Industry data
Manufacturing and Trade
Export
Report iconReport

Australian Dairy Industry In Focus 2018

An overview of the performance of the Australian dairy industry in 2018.
Published:
Industry data
Manufacturing and Trade
Export
Report iconReport

Australian Dairy Industry in Focus 2017

An overview of the performance of the Australian dairy industry in 2017.
Published:
Industry data
Manufacturing and Trade
Export

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